Throughout the room, the mob was ready for Zion Williamson. The anticipated No. 1 decide within the 2019 NBA Draft was due on the Grand Hyatt ballroom any second, however the jockeying for place started lengthy earlier than that.
Close by, a gaggle about the identical measurement waited for RJ Barrett, Williamson’s teammate at Duke and the man who was presupposed to be the primary decide earlier than Zion’s ascension. Barrett, broadly anticipated to go to the Knicks with the third-overall decide, quickly was to be pelted with questions in regards to the metropolis, in regards to the franchise, about Knicks coach David Fizdale, about Williamson.
Earlier than both of them arrived, nevertheless, Cam Reddish, additionally a Blue Devils teammate, was there. Carrying a maroon crimson swimsuit, Reddish entertained a modest group of reporters in a variant of a scene he has watched play out for the previous eight months.
When Duke landed a recruiting class that includes three of the top-five gamers in 2018 as judged by 247Sports activities’ composite rating, Barrett was ranked first, Reddish second and Williamson fifth. Earlier than the season began, Williamson stated, Reddish dominated scrimmages.
As soon as play started, that hierarchy glided by the wayside. Williamson was the most important factor in faculty basketball. Barrett was a consensus All-American. Reddish shot 39 p.c from the sector, missed an NCAA Match sport and regarded out of his depth at instances.
The eye drifted away from Reddish, although he maintained his standing as a possible top-10 decide.
“Personally, it didn’t have an effect on me as a lot as folks would suppose,” Reddish stated. “I simply … stayed away from all of the noise. Stayed centered.”
Even the reporters speaking with Reddish appeared extra focused on Barrett and Williamson than within the particular person sitting in entrance of them.
Enjoying alongside Williamson elevated his sport, Reddish stated, whereas Barrett is a superb participant who does all of it. Reddish added it has been cool to undergo the draft course of with them.
Does he really feel ignored?
“Probably, yeah,” Reddish stated. “But it surely was actually a studying expertise for me. I loved it.”
Reddish underwent core muscle surgical procedure within the run-up to the draft, so he hasn’t labored out for groups just lately. The surgical procedure just isn’t anticipated to maintain him out for an prolonged time frame, although he demurred when requested if he would play summer time league.
Reddish is predicted to go someplace a few picks one aspect or one other of the No. eight choice, as a result of regardless of taking part in third banana at Duke, he has the potential to be a multi-position star on each side of the ground.
“Cam carries himself with confidence,” Williamson stated. “Cam walks into the room, he carries himself like he’s the very best participant. I respect that about him.”
There may be, imagine it or not, purpose to be intrigued by Reddish.
“I really feel like I confirmed loads, however there’s much more to be proven,” Reddish stated. “I really feel I can do a wide range of issues that you just haven’t even seen but. I believe it’s only a matter of time.”
As he answered the query about himself, a digital camera gentle flicked off.